2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: HENRIK STENSON


2013 PGA Championship Interview Transcript: HENRIK STENSON

KELLY ELBIN: After a 1 under par 69 today which leaves him two strokes behind Jim Furyk after three rounds of the PGA Championship, Henrik Stenson joins us at Oak Hill Country Club.

Henrik, three birdies, two bogeys today. Lots of noise on the golf course, for sure. Comments on your round today and your position being two strokes back of the lead with one round to go.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, very happy with my performance shooting under par today. It was tough conditions out there. The breeze was swirl around. There was more wind than we played earlier in the week, and yeah, it definitely made for backing off a few times. You know, one second it sets up great for a certain club and then it just like swirls around and all of a sudden you feel like you can't hit that club anymore. So there was a few times I had to back off and kind of realize that if you don't want to take silly risks, you've got to maybe hit it to 30 feet or 20 feet on a few holes where you've got hazards nearby and shaved banks and so on.

I thought I managed my way around nicely. Could have made one or two more birdies after some great shots early on the front nine, but also made some great par saves and kept it together nicely. So, yeah, I'm pleased with that and in great position going into tomorrow. It's on the back nine on a Sunday, that's when it's going to be decided. Once again, we are up there in contention, and going to give my best tomorrow, of course.

KELLY ELBIN: Very good, if you would, just a quick review of the two bogeys and the three birdies, starting with the bogey on 2, please.

HENRIK STENSON: Why do we want to go through bogeys again (laughter).

I missed a tee shot. I was in the left hand rough and thought I was going to get a gap wedge up the middle of the green, but I didn't make good contact and ended up in the front bunker to a back pin; that was kind of not the place to be. Still made a decent par attempt with a putt that just missed.

Had a great chance for birdie on 5, just started on the edge, and great putt on 7, as well, after a 4 iron that just missed. But got the long deserved birdie I guess, on 8, with a good second shot to six, seven feet behind the pin in the back right corner and made that one.

Great par putt save on 12 after being in the rough, and then made a nice 20 footer up the hill on 13. Left it just short of the green and pitched up and made another 15 footer for birdie on 14.

Then missed the green just left on 15, and sitting down a little bit and kind of gave way when I played the pitch. Had a good sniff at the par again there. The putt was just over the right lip.

So still, all in all, very pleased with my putting today and the way I kept it together, and, you know, I was definitely feeling a bit fatigued on 15, 16 coming in, but I managed to mobilize enough energy to finish strongly. Yeah, you're always going to take a par, par finish on 17 and 18.

Q. Do you think about being the first Swedish born player to win a major? Is it important for you just to win that major, obviously?

HENRIK STENSON: Whether it be the first Swede  at this point it would be the same as winning my first major championship.

But yeah, it would be lovely. But we're still a long ways away from that. There's no point thinking about tomorrow and thinking ahead of things. It's all about going out and doing the same things. It's going to be a big challenge again tomorrow to keep the mind in the right place, and if I can do that, I hope I can have a chance on the back nine. But it's a pretty packed leaderboard. There's going to be a few guys with a good chance, so there's no point thinking about the future. It's about thinking about the shots I'm going to play and how to play them.

Q. Two things, first of all, how fun is golf right now?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, golf is definitely a whole lot more fun than it was, you know, back in 2011. It's more fun to show up at the races with a good gear box and a good set of tires, you know.

Yeah, I'm working ahead, getting closer to where I want to be and playing some good golf again. Yeah, we are a good ways in that direction, for sure.

Q. You mentioned where you were in 2011, and you definitely had a lull there that surprised a lot of people, and I'm just wondering how I guess rewarding it might be to have dug yourself out of that to where you are now.

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's been a lot of hard work. I've got a great team around me. They have got a big part of my success, my kind of comeback from 2011: Pete Cowen, Torsten Hansson, my sports psychologist; Cornel Driessen, my physio; and Gareth Lord, my caddie, I feel like I have a good team around me, and they are all helping me go the right direction. Very pleased with them and the work they have put in, and obviously I have put a few hours in myself.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to the rest of the season and the years to come. If I can continue to progress and get back to where I want to be, it's always going to be up and downs; hopefully I won't  I had a slump back in 2001, 2002 and 2011, but if you look at all of my colleagues and the other guys, they go through ups and downs, too. Everybody disappears for a little while and comes back. It's good to be back playing good golf at these big events in the middle of the summer.

KELLY ELBIN: Fun times recently, British Open second place and tie for second at Bridgestone last week.

Q. Even though this would be the first men's major for Sweden, obviously Annika Sorenstam would object to not being on that list. For you as a young player, what did Annika's success influence you?

HENRIK STENSON: I guess my looks are a bit deceiving. I'm 37; I don't know how many years older Annika is than I am. Yeah, she's been a great role model for the golfers in Sweden. I mean, when I grew up, I was obviously more looking towards the male place and Jesper and Anders Forsbrand and the guys who were out there in the early days for Sweden.

All in all, for a small country, we have produced a lot of good players and had some great success, and obviously Annika's career has been phenomenal and she's been the one that everybody's looked at in terms of her success.

Yeah, whether it's influenced me that much since we are more or less the same age  she's got a few years on me I guess. But no, she's had a great career and a fantastic player.

Q. We were talking the other day about musculature, weight and things; what do you weigh now, and what did you weigh three years ago or when you were significantly lighter?

HENRIK STENSON: Are you saying I'm fat? (Laughter).

Yeah, I put a couple of kilos of muscles on. I don't know, I mean, I haven't kept track of that really. I'm just trying to stay in good shape and I've got a sweet tooth, so these two weeks, I've stayed off the sweets, which is good. Pants fit a little bit better.

But just in general, I've worked hard on balancing my body up and putting some more muscles on in the areas where I wasn't as strong as in others. Yeah, I'm probably a few kilos heavier.

But if you want to know, I think I'm 201 pounds or something. Don't tell anyone, though.

Q. Second place and second place, is there anything you can put your finger on, other than Phil had a hot streak and then Tiger had a hot streak?

HENRIK STENSON: Sorry? Come again there?

Q. Well, second at The Open and second at the WGC Bridgestone, wonder if there's anything that you can put your finger on that you can do differently, or is it just a matter of two guys that had hot streaks in front of you?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, as we all saw, Tiger didn't have the worst of weeks last week, did he. So it was a race for second there.

And at The Open it was an open, back nine Open tournament: Westwood was up there, Adam was up there, Phil was up there, I was up there, a few other guys were up there. It was just one of them, he won the tournament outright with a great finish and was a very deserving champion. Once again, it's all about being up there and I hope I can pull something similar off; if it's a tight race tomorrow, throw a couple of birdies in when I need them the most. But once again, there's no point walking around wishing for it. It's all about being focused and doing the right things, and hopefully that will come.

Q. I believe I heard on the television broadcast, two years ago, when this tournament was going on, you were playing in your club championship?

HENRIK STENSON: Correct.

Q. Could you kind of just discuss that, compared to this, and just what it means to be back in this event and this atmosphere?

HENRIK STENSON: I was up in contention there, as well (laughter). I didn't win.

Yeah, I was playing at my home course, and I was not in a good period with my golf. I was not playing great, and I ended up finishing second a shot back. So I guess it's not something that will stand out as a highlight on my C.V.

But it's nice to be here. I think I should be at the majors, rather than my club championship. Yeah, I'm a bit more pleased with my play here.

I got grief on television, McCord and Faldo had to come in and defend the plus 12 that we shot. It's a pretty tricky golf course and there was a bit of wind, but it wasn't the kind of golf that I produced here, because I think I would have won then.

Q. The other guys have got to be telling quite a story?

HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, I saw it as a kind gesture to give him a bit of a confidence boost, yes. (Laughter).

KELLY ELBIN: Three rounds in the 60s, Henrik Stenson, two shots back with one round to go.

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